Richard Carew (Dickie) REYNELL


REYNELL, Richard Carew

Service Number: 32091
Enlisted: Not yet discovered
Last Rank: Flight Lieutenant
Last Unit: No. 43 Squadron (RAF)
Born: Reynella, South Australia, 12 August 1912
Home Town: Reynella, Onkaparinga, South Australia
Schooling: St Peter's College, Adelaide, South Australia
Occupation: Air force pilot
Died: Killed in Action, Surrey, England, 7 September 1940, aged 28 years
Cemetery: Brookwood Military Cemetery
Grave 202417.
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World War 2 Service

4 Sep 1939: Involvement Royal Air Force, Flight Lieutenant, SN 32091, No. 43 Squadron (RAF), Air War NW Europe 1939-45

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Richard Reynell was one of a number of Australians serving in the RAF when the war broke out in September 1939.  He was one of even fewer (a total of 13) who flew fighters during the Battle of Britain.  He had served with the RAF pre-war and had been a test pilot for the Hawker aircraft company.

By some strange means Flight Lieut Reynell and a Hawker Hurricane were interpolated into the programme and the sky while Wellington bombers were still on parade. He did everylhing with the machine which a Hurricane could reasonably be expected to do, and then some more.With all due respect to all the other brilliant aerobats of the afternoon,there is no doubt that Reynell stole the show.

"Hardened Belgian pilots on the balcony of the Brussels Flying Club danced with joy when they saw him doing those vertical climbs, slowly revolving on his longitudinal axis.

"Much alarm was caused when,during the long, straight dive with which Reynell begins these rocket-like upward flights, flames were seen to be issuing apparently from the cowling and licking along the side ofthe machine. People shouted: 'II pritfeu!' (it is on fire) but the machine went on.

"I afterward learned the flames were caused by an accumulation of super-rich mixture shooting out ofthe exhaust ports in a long flame.''

Flieut.-Lieut. Reynell was born at Reynella (Morphett Vale south Australia) on January 9, 1912. His father was killed in action at Gallipoli on August 28, 1915. while commanding the 9th Light Horse Regiment.

He obtained short-service commission in the R.A.F. in 1930, transferring from Oxford University Air Squadron. He was transferred to the R.A.F.Reserve in 1936, and was then employed by Hawker Aircraft. Company.  He leaves a widow and a son aged 15 months.

He was killed while a Flight Leader with 43 Squadron at the height of the Battle of Britain, flying a Hawker Hurricane on 7 September 1940.

Seconded to Hawkers to continue his test pilot duties, F/L Richard C "Dickie" Reynell was attached to No 43 Squadron RAF for operational experience at RAF Tangmere on 26 August 1940. After claiming an Me 109 destroyed on 2 September, the 28-year-old Australian was shot down 5 days later, in combat with enemy fighters over south London. Bailing out of Hurricane Mk I FT-F, wounded, his parachute failed to open and he fell dead near Blackheath.